For centuries people have been leaving money for their churches in their wills, evident by the many plaques and memorials we find in churches today.
Families have also been known to donate to churches in memory of a loved one.
It's a wonderful legacy to leave behind—generous gifts from bygone generations are still being put to good use in churches all over. A gift of this nature to a church is often recorded, both to honour the donor and to remember them for the years to come.
If your church receives a donation in memory, think about how you might do this.
One idea is to create a memory book with photos and stories of the people who have left legacy donations, along with an explanation of how their money has been put to use. When families visit the church in times of reflection or when lighting a candle for a departed loved one, it can be comforting to see the memory book and the difference the donation made. This could even be an online book so that those who live further away can still see it.
Memorials that endure can even have a missional element—a witness and testimony to people’s generosity inspired by their faith.
Leaving your own legacy
Many of us love our church and want to support its mission and ministry after we're gone. After making sure that loved ones are taken care of, we can continue that commitment by making a planned gift to the church, perhaps through a percentage tithe, or with a specific amount.
We cannot predict the future, but we can make a difference to the future of our church. Our donation could help fund an important roof repair or provide the funds needed to start a new outreach program. As we consider giving to our church, we can take comfort in knowing that our gift will support its mission and make a difference in people’s lives.
• Codicil form
• The Church of England website - Giving in Memory and Gifts in Wills, so you can start a conversation with your congregation.
• Materials to support legacy conversations
• Encouraging generosity – resources for all